PARK CITY 2000 BUZZ: Bidding Begins; Brunch with Bob, Queer TV, Where Was Stanley, and "Psycho Babble"
by Eugene Hernandez and Anne Hubbell/indieWIRE
BIDDING BEGINS...Sony Pictures Classics is pursuing Greg Harrison's American Spectrum rave film, "Groove". Rep Howard Cohen confirmed for indieWIRE late yesterday that he is in "exclusive negotiations" with the company.
Meanwhile, Blow-Up Pictures' first digitally-shot feature, "Chuck and Buck," is a hot commodity. The film has offers on the table, with Paramount Classics among the rumored suitors. Jeremy Walker, the film's spokesperson would not confirm specifics late yesterday, but indicated that "there is serious interest in the film." An indieWIRE staffer attended yesterday's press screening and was taken with the movie, "I thought it was very good, it is a childhood fantasy gone wrong -- I liked that it was really restrained, there was a very apparent dark undertone that sets you up for a much darker film and then lifts itself out very successfully."
[Check back here at indieWIRE.com for updated information on these and other Park City biz dealings.]
Left to Right, "American Psycho" producer Edward R. Pressman, Director Mary Harron, and star Christian Bale.
BRUNCH WITH BOB...The shuttle ride to the Sundance Institute for the annual filmmaker's brunch with Robert Redford is always a beautiful drive -- a 45 minute trip through the Wasatch range offering views of spectacular snowscapes and majestic trees. A nice way to get one's head together amidst the emerging festival frenzy and a terrific preamble to Sundance Institute President Robert Redford's extended remarks before our morning meal on the grounds of the Institute.
Redford reiterated the mission of the Institute to the gathered filmmakers and handful of media, unscoring the Festival's role as a showcase, a place to meet others and a venue for synergy among makers. Echoing some of last year's remarks, Redford acknowledged Sundance's role as a market and unapologetically went on to dis the "hype artists" and others that populate this new "layer" of the Festival. "Try not to get sucked into the hype, the buzz," he implored the filmmakers. "A lot of the so-called buzz that the media feed on is empty," Redford cautioned, mentioning "Blair Witch" as an example of a Sundance film that overcame a lack of pre-festival Hollywood buzz.
Redford confirmed that Sundance will open its first two cinema centers this year with theaters -- he calls them "community centers" -- in Portland and Philadelphia. The venues will screen new films, movies from the Sundance Collection, and works by locals.
Reminiscing about the early days of the Sundance Festival, Redford related the story of a 1986 screening of Jim McBride's "The Big Easy." Joking that organizers had to hawk films on Main Street -- "I dragged David Putnam too see [it]." According to Redford, Putnam -- then at Columbia -- picked up the movie. "That was the first sign...," Redford offered.
Most inspiring was Redford's earnest account of his experiences on the 1970 film, "Downhill Racer." A picture incorporating the "visual poetry and danger" in the sport of skiing, was marketed as an action film when it came time for the theatrical release.
I WANT MY QUEER TV...At PlanetOut's annual Brunch for Lesbian & Gay Festival Guests (and Friends) today, producer Jenni Olson will announce the site's plans for a new half-hour weekly TV series. Produced by Toronto's CITY TV, Queer TV will be an "eclectic lifestyle magazine," according to Olson. Planet Out will stream the show exclusively on its website, while CITY TV will air it in Canada and handle international sales.
The move, according to Olson, is part of PlanetOut's bigger broadband strategy which includes online radio and news programming. New aspects of the project are set to launch on March 1st.
"Why don't you just come see the films, forget the buzz." -- Robert Redford at yesterday's brunch for Sundance filmmakers.
"A reporter had a seizure just before the last reel (of American Psycho) - he said he'd never had one before, and my only thought is why more of us didn't respond to the film the same way he did."
-- Peter Byck's critique of the food, fashion, music and film in Park City continues at indieWIRE.com/parkcity.
Overheard at the "American Psycho" screening Friday, "I'm so fucking jazzed, I just met a Beastie Boy!"
From inside the ladies room at Eccles: "Did you notice the American Psycho posters in the bathroom stalls? There's something not right about that."
What are psychographics? Stop Atom Films' Mika Salmi on the street and ask him, or check out Day 2 of indieWIRE On the Scene @ indieWIRE.com/onthescene.
"Shadow Hours" Balthazar Getty and Rebecca Gayheart huddle for warmth in the Park City cold.
The conversation on Friday night at Chimayo with "Shadow Hours" stars, producers and publicists, ranged in topic from blood type diets to 'real' Cuban cigars.
Heard over delicious stuffed-jalapenos and mushroom salads:
"It doesn't matter if you have a cold, hypoglycemia, or a broken cunt